The Urgency and the Way of Spiritual Reality (continued)
Yes, Paul has seen the meaning of Christ. And in seeing the meaning of Christ, he has seen the meaning of everything. He has seen the meaning of all existence. He has seen why this universe exists. He has seen why man has been brought into existence, what the human race is for. And he has seen that there is an end, that there is a goal, to which Divine Purpose is moving, of which the very meaning and realization is bound up with a Person, and that Person is Christ.
And, dear friends, miss the meaning of Christ and you have missed the meaning of everything. He is the meaning! And, oh, that great range of meaning as to moral character, as to position, as to ultimate destiny, that is all centered and focused in One Person. Well, it is an unveiling: it is a vision that Paul called "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph. 3:8), it is unspeakable, but he has glimpsed it. And then he has seen that the One in Whom God has placed all, and Who is invested with all the Glory of God, that Person becomes the very Life of those who are joined to Him. That in salvation we become united to this Person, and we are caught up into God's intention for that Person. In other words, the Christ in all of His infinite Glory. It is God's intention that He should be embodied and expressed in a people.
And the expression of Christ is the expression of reality. You see that? When that reality is found in us operative, actually happening, you can say, 'There it is, that is reality.' And everything less than that becomes meaningless, and pointless. God is concerned to translate everything in His beloved Son into terms of reality in our lives. That is what we exist for, that is what the Church is: it is the expression, the embodiment of the Son of God in a spiritual way.
Well, perhaps that sounds rather big to some of you, but let us get down to the practical detail. You see, this dispensation of the Spirit which began on the day of Pentecost is the dispensation of reality, because before Pentecost, if you like before Christ, the Old Testament period and all the ages that preceded, the best they were was a dispensation of preparation, or a period of groping toward something. The very Word of God, the Old Testament, was only foreshadowing the Reality which was to come. But when Christ came, the Reality was here, God was here! And when the Holy Spirit was given, God became real in man, Christ became real in man.
(continued with # 23 - (The First Effect of the Spirit's Coming Was Light)